Saturday, June 20, 2015

Guns

I’ve been thinking a lot about guns lately, maybe you have too.  When I was a boy and young man, guns were a part of most households, but not very important in the coming and going of daily life.  They were taken more or less for granted, and used used for hunting and target sports.  If they were admired, it was for their workmanship.  They were not privileged more than a good fishing rod or quality lawn mower.

My dad had a couple of shotguns that he took on his annual hunting forays.  Sometimes I went along.  Frankly, they were not that big a deal, just something one did each year in the fall.  As an older teen and young adult, I had a couple of shotguns and a rifle of my own.  Hunting didn’t interest me much, I discovered I didn’t like killing things and calling it sport, but I enjoyed trap, skeet, and target shooting.  The only “gun nut” I knew was a man down the street who was nationally ranked in trap and skeet, and overly proud of his Italian guns with their engraved metal and hand carved stocks.  A bit older, and as a sworn officer for a few years, I carried a handgun (or two).  They never made me or anyone else feel safer.  The possibility that I might have to use them was always present, but the probability was very, very low.

The point is that no one I knew thought much about weapons one way or the other except as a means to hunt and target shoot.  Hardly anyone was so frightened of potential intruders or armed robbers that they felt the need to be heavily armed for defense.  Cowards were the only ones who measured their manhood by the gun they owned.  Very few were paranoid about the need to defend themselves against invaders, or, heaven forbid, their own government.  And remember, some of this was amidst the paranoia of the McCarthy era, and all of it in the emotional heat of the Cold War and nascent civil rights movement.  

I gave mine up over thirty years ago. They just didn’t interest me anymore, and I saw no point in having them around.  If I lived out on a ranch or up in the mountains, I would have a weapon again, more to make a big bang than to kill anything like a prowling bear or mountain lion.  I don’t live out there.  I live in town.  All of this is to say that I do not understand the irrational gun fetish that defies reason and morality, but has energized a large part of our population.  Maybe calling it a fetish isn’t enough.  How about fear driven fixation, obsession, compulsion, mania, and object of idolatrous worship?


It’s time to stop this Second Amendment nonsense that shows no respect whatsoever for the rest of the Constitution, and to name the caterwauling about some government plan to take away our guns for what it is: bigoted, fear driven, cowardly insecurity.  It’s time to grow up and act like the civilized people we claim to be.  You want to own a gun?  Fine.  Get a license and register it just like you do your cars.  It’s OK, your rights are not at stake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like many issues, "guns" have become a symbol, so it really isn't about the right to bear arms for many, but I'm sure if you dug beneath the surface it would be more about increasing government power and control, as well as the increasing influence of corporations. Guns are just a symbol.

Despite what has happened in Charleston and elsewhere, gun deaths are actually down significantly over what it was 20 and 30 years ago. All violent crime is down, in fact, though the fire engine chasers in the media don't really want to let us know that.

I didn't grow up with guns, though I have had fun target and skeet shooting. I suspect that violent first person shooter video games had more to do with helping to encourage the evil in the guy in Charleston than the availability of guns or the Confederate flag. I don't see much hand ringing over that but there should be.